First of two sold-out shows at The Ogden Theatre!
BY TIM HINELY
It had been a few years since I’d last caught Southern California’s long-running punk/hard rock/bluesy Social Distortion. Their shows are usually never much different than the other, but always entertaining. They’ve been at it since the early 80’s when they first crawled out of Fullerton, CA (along with The Adolescents) with their classic debut Mommy’s Little Monster. Though it’s been six years since their last record, 2011’s Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes (Epitaph Records) the band has such a dedicated fan base that they can sell out two consecutive nights at the Ogden Theatre with no records in recent memory, as they did this time.
I caught the first night’s gig and leader Mike Ness still has his co-hort Johnny Two Bags on lead guitar while the rhythm section is Brent Harding on bass (he’s played with Deke Dickerson among many others and on a Ness solo record) and longtime L.A. musician David Hidalgo, Jr. on drums (son of the Los Lobos member and former drummer for Suicidal Tendencies, not sure what happened to Charlie Quintana???). [He left in 2009 and was replaced by Atom Willard, who was replaced by Scott Reeder, who in turn was replaced by Hidalgo in 2010. —Archives Ed.]
The band hit the stage early, 9:15 PM, and opened up with “I Was Wrong” (off 2006’s White Light, White Heat, White Trash which is one of their best records) and from there played a handful of tunes off a majority of their records (not sure we heard anything off of that classic debut I mentioned earlier). They played fan favorites like “Bad Luck,” “Don’t Drag Me Down, “California (hustle and flow) “Ball and Chain” and “99 to Life,” among others.
While talking to the crowd Ness tossed out some of his opinions on the current adminitration and stated, “These people don’t care about you or your grandparents!” He then mentioned that the band is working on new songs and played one of them, a bluesy number called “When You Your Burden Down.” After an hour or so the band walked off stage amid a ton of cheers (from the heavily sauced crowd, this bunch can drink) and came back out for a few encores including “Dear Lover” (also off White Light….) and “Story of My Life” and called it a night.
Again, the band doesn’t play at the breakneck pace like they used to, but it doesn’t seem that their fans seem to mind. Ness could pretty much do and say anything and this fan base would still follow along and consider it gospel. He’s been at it for long enough, he’s earned his keep.
Photo is from 2011, via Wikipedia